Landslides – Warning Alert Notifications

Landslide and Rockslide[4]

Unlike deadly hazards such as tornadoes and flash floods, for which the U.S. spends billions each year in order to issue advanced watches and warnings, the federal government spends a little under $3 million per year on a national landslide program, according to Jonathan Stock, director of the USGS Innovation Center for Earth Sciences in California.[1]

Instead, the USGS, working with the National Weather Service (NWS) and state and local agencies, has put together a “patchwork quilt” of monitoring and experimental warning programs, based upon rainfall and soil moisture and pressure measurements.[2]

Landslide watches and warnings may be issued for discrete areas, and include advice about contacting an area’s local emergency centers. Watches and warnings for rainfall-induced debris flows are weather dependent and will closely track National Weather Service (NWS) watches and warnings for flash flooding. The types of landslide notifications are:[3]

A Landslide Advisory is a general statement about the potential of landslide activity in a given region relative to developing rainfall predictions. An advisory may include general statements about rainfall conditions that can lead to debris-flow activity, and list precautions to be taken in the event of heavy rainfall.

A Landslide Watch means that landslide-activity will be possible, but is not   imminent. People in, or planning to travel through, a watch area should   check preparedness and stay informed about developing weather patterns.

Landslide Warnings indicate that landslide activity is presently occurring and extreme caution should be taken.



  1. USGS Innovation Center for Earth Sciences:
  2. USGS Innovation Center for Earth Sciences:
  3. USGS FAQs – Landslides:
  4. Image Source: [Accessed August 7, 2013]